Do You Think Utilities Should Charge High Fees For Online Payments?

Discussion in Utilities started by Diane Lane • Jul 3, 2015.

  1. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    I feel that if I'm paying online, the cost of any fees should be minimal, since I'm not interacting with employees, and am doing all of the work myself, but it seems fees for paying online have only increased, not saved us money.

    I was paying something yesterday, and the 'convenience' fee was over $3.00 for one small utility bill. Another utility account charges a 4% fee for online payments. That is outrageous, in my opinion. If I paid by check, the company would have to have the mail collected, sorted, processed, and then filed. That would involved a lot of steps that they are skipping, and companies always seem to be encouraging people to pay their bills online, yet we are then penalized for doing so.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Theo

    TheoWell-Known Member

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    I can't believe companies are getting away with charging you for paying your bill! In the UK and I do think in the US for some companies, they charge for paper statements and credit card charges.

    I would definitely start some campaign if it was me (!) and out the company as I am sure some people who use direct debit aren't even aware. They used to give discounts for direct debit, but many companies seemed to have stopped that too. What is the cheapest way to bay your bills? It should be online and if it's not I would set up a Facebook and Twitter campaign to ask them why.
     
  3. Happyflowerlady

    HappyflowerladyWell-Known Member

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    Diane, I totally agree with you ! I just got the statement to renew the vehicle license, and it is an extra $2 to mail it in, and if you pay it online, then it is the bill +$2+$3 to pay it online.
    So, to skip all of the extra charges; you have to go to the Dept. Of Licensing, stand in line, and pay it to a real person. If they didn't charge extra, most people would either mail it in or pay online.
    Many things actually charge less when you do automatic payments; and that seems to me like the way everything should be done.
     
  4. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    @Theo@Theo I actually have griped about this on Twitter and Facebook. Many people, especially on Twitter, agreed with me. I have a theory that people on Twitter are more vocal and will express their opinions and dissatisfaction with situations. Most on Facebook that I follow don't want to see anything unpleasant, they just want to see pretty and cute pics.

    @Happyflowerlady@Happyflowerlady Grrr, as if anyone has the time these days to get to the Dept. of Licensing, stand in line, pay a real person (which would mean they'd have to hire more people to wait on customers, or re-allocate their employees to cover that), and if people started doing that, they'd then start charging a fee for in-person service! They get you coming and going, and this is on top of the of the other fees and taxes we pay on these bills. The cost of living has gone way up over the years, and much of that increase is hidden in items such as these, so people aren't even aware of why they've got less money.
     
  5. Lushlala

    LushlalaWell-Known Member

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    OMG that doesn't sound right at all! I also would be very upset at having to pay extra. Like Theo says, I remember that for a time the UK banks encouraged you to do everything online as it was not only convenient to you, it also helped the drive towards a paperless society and it also meant not going in, saving them a lot of time! I'm sure they wouldn't be happy if people suddenly abandoned online banking and started descending upon them for services. That's just greedy, typical of banks, I guess!
     
  6. xTinx

    xTinxWell-Known Member

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    I think that online fees are totally absurd. I mean, it's their responsibility to be efficient. Why on earth would they let customers/subscribers shoulder another burden when they're already paying for their utility bills every month? Online payments don't require paper - even the receipt is digital. So why is there a need to charge high web transaction fees? Seriously. Are the extra payments for maintaining the servers? They should at least have the decency to explain the reason for those charges.
     
  7. Jessi

    Jessi<a href="http://www.quirkycookery.com">QuirkyCooke

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    I don't think they should. Honestly, it's making their jobs easier, too, because there's no involvement with paper checks and no one has to manually process the payments. I won't pay the convenience charge, though, because I think it's silly.
     
  8. BrandonScooterman

    BrandonScootermanActive Member

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    I have never heard of this practice. My bills you actually get a rebate for going paperless (It's like only 10 cents though lol.)
    It doesn't really make sense to have fee's associated with HOW you pay. Doesn't sound ethical too me.
     
  9. Thejamal

    ThejamalActive Member

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    I also have never heard of utility companies billing you for their online services. If anything, they WANT you to go to online billing as many utility companies are pushing the "paperless billing" policy. They want to be more green and have that image to their customers.

    I would call in and have them get that fee removed. If you have to, just say that you're "more than willing to go to a utility company that doesn't charge me to be environmentally conscious," or something to that extent. They'll jump through hoops to make sure you stay on as there customer.
     
  10. missbishi

    missbishiWell-Known Member

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    That's a pretty outrageous charge. I get a discount on my bills for being paperless - after all, doing this saves paper, postage charges and manpower. These type of charges have nothing to do with overheads and everything to do with trying to extract as much money from people as possible.
     
  11. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    @Thejamal@Thejamal Unfortunately, there are no alternatives to the water and gas companies here, and those are the 2 with the highest fees.

    Here in the U.S., companies pushed everyone going paperless, and processing payments online, to save time and money, and be better for the environment. Now that almost everyone pays online, they instituted the fees, and they seem to go up frequently. Since my water is provided by the city, and my area isn't close to the actual city that provides it, I'd have to pay by mail or drive across town to pay. If I chose to pay at a grocery store, the closest one that processes those payments is the next city over,which is ridiculous. I could pay the gas bill at the closer grocery store, but that's not usually where i shop, since it's more expensive, so it's inconvenient to pay other than online, which is why they feel they can charge these fees. I totally agree, @missbishi@missbishi, it's all about the money.
     
  12. Thejamal

    ThejamalActive Member

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    That stinks. I'm not exactly happy with SMUD or PG&E here in California, but they still don't have anything as ridiculous as instituting fees for using their online bill pay. I actually got a $5 rebate for signing up for online bill pay.

    I bet if you still made an issue of it and called up customer service, you could get them to waive the fee. A couple dollars isn't worth the potential bad press you might give about their company (which is exactly you're rightfully doing!)
     
  13. Blake Carl

    Blake CarlNew Member

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    I think that this should not happen as this is my money and I have a right to save it, but at the right time I have a thought that govt. have one of this way to make money and help poor people so this is good.
     
  14. Sunshine703

    Sunshine703Active Member

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    Yeah I've experienced this too where the electric company would charge me a fee to pay online. In my head I'm thinking, "I'm trying to give you my money and your still trying to hassle me?" I mean what exactly am I paying my fees for? Last time I remembered, it doesn't cost money to send money to other people because I have always been doing it without a fee. I just don't understand what I'm paying you the extra money for.
     
  15. ACSAPA

    ACSAPAWell-Known Member

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    Some months, when the weather is mild, my electric bill is only $41. It irks me that my electric company charges me a $5 convenience fee to pay that $41 bill online. That is 1/8 of my bill in fees. AT&T doesn't charge online payment fees, so why do the gas and electric company do it?
     
  16. BrandonScooterman

    BrandonScootermanActive Member

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    This is pretty silly, but I have to ask.
    Is there a way you can pay your pill that you would not incur that charge? Perhaps by phone? Or do you have to go in person and pay?
    It makes no sense to me to charge a "convenience fee" when it probably costs them LESS to accept internet payments.
    Do they provide you any justification?
    Looks like a plain ol money grab.
     
  17. Zyni

    ZyniWell-Known Member

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    Well, I live in the boonies, so I can't even pay all of mine online. The phone company will charge you to pay over the phone, if you need to speak to someone. Now, you can live chat online for free, but if you want to ask a question over the phone, it's ten bucks.

    Another one of my bills wants to charge $3 if you use a debit card. What??? I find it all a bit much.

    I was just discussing this with my husband the other day. I was annoyed and said I don't think they should charge me for the "privilege" of giving them money.
     
    #17Feb 8, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  18. Diane Lane

    Diane LaneWell-Known Member

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    @Happyflowerlady@Happyflowerlady My ex just had to renew his license place registration in Wisconsin, and had to drive about 40 minutes to do so. I forget the reason why, but he had to do it in person. I knew he mentioned that he had to pay a counter fee, but I couldn't remember what it was, so I just looked it up to compare with what you paid. I copied this from their website.

    These are their 'counter fees' for showing up in person and processing the transaction in person.

    Disabled ID cards at

    Please Log In to view this link!

    $3 plus Disabled ID card fee, if temporary disability
    Registration renewal transaction at

    Please Log In to view this link!

    offering registration services $3 plus regular registration fee
    Title and registration at

    Please Log In to view this link!

    offering registration services $5 plus regular title and registration fee

    Please Log In to view this link!

    Maximum service fee of $10 for a registration renewal transaction or $19.50 for a title transaction

    These fees are getting really disgusting. I have two fees I pay monthly for receiving paper statements, and those are for my car insurance and my bank statements. I prefer having the paper statements from the bank just in case there's an issue, and the car insurance notice prompts me to move funds around if I need to, so everything goes through smoothly. I always try to renew my vehicle registration and license online if possible, but this year I will have to go in to the registry to renew my license. I'll have to remember to check ahead of time to see if there are any related fees.
     
  19. morgoodie

    morgoodieActive Member

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    As if utility companies don't get enough of our hard earned money as it is. I don't get why they would have to charge extra as it is all electronic and they don't have to go to the bank to cash a check so you would think it would be free. It is supposed to be cheaper all around if you sign up for paperless billing. I will have to check the next time I pay my bill online and see if my company charges a fee for online bill payment.
     
  20. djdontpay

    djdontpayActive Member

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    Yeah it is pretty crazy. I especially hate it when they charge an extra x% for payment via credit card. What is that all about?
     
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